Former Hartlepool Mail editor was ‘a determined fellow who was admired to the hilt’

DETERMINED: Peter Chislett
DETERMINED: Peter Chislett

THE Hartlepool Mail editor who guided the paper through much of the 1980s has been hailed as “a determined fellow who was admired to the hilt”.

Peter Chislett, who took charge of the paper between 1981 and 1987, has died at the age of 71, in St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester, after a short illness.

Tributes came from former colleagues including Mark Acheson, now associate editor of the Portsmouth News and former news editor at the Mail from 1981.

He praised Peter as a man with a commitment and ability which he admired to the hilt.

He added: “I not only counted him as a work colleague that I could look up to, I counted him as a great mate.

“He was a determined fellow and one who never seemed to be rattled by whatever arose in the working environment. Whatever challenges we had, he would keep his cool and would make the right decision.

“He was a great guy to work with. Within the bedlam of the newsroom, he always called people ‘sunshine’. It summed up a man who was always looking forward.”

Mark first worked with Peter at the Portsmouth News before both arrived in the North East in 1981. They headed the team until 1987.

Peter, who was born in Hexham, in 1942, was the son of naval architect John, and his wife Esme. He started his career in journalism in local newspapers and swiftly progressed to Fleet Street, London, where he worked on a number of national titles and for AP the international news service.

Returning south to pursue his great love of tennis, he played for Lee on Solent Tennis Club and for Hampshire.

He took up the post of news editor at The News, Portsmouth. There he met his future wife, Philippa. They were married for six years, and had a daughter, Victoria.

He accepted promotion within the group to become the youngest editor in England and moved to the Hartlepool Mail, in 1981, where he was credited with great success and increased sales for the popular title.

Peter’s appointment came four months after the sad death of the Mail’s previous editor, Maurice Brady.

During his time at the Mail, Peter won the Editor of the Year award for UK regional evening newspapers.

He also won the Samuel Storey Editorial Award, given to regional newspaper editors who submitted examples of their own published writing and whose newspapers achieved high standards of writing, presentation and service to the community.

He went on to become editor of The Advertiser, a series of Durham weekly newspapers.

Peter was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and retired early, working part-time on local newspapers, and returning to the south to live at Midhurst, West Sussex.

He leaves a brother, David, and a daughter Victoria. The funeral will be at Chichester Crematorium on Wednesday, February 12, at 10.15am. The family have requested no flowers but donations to RSPB and the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

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